Tuesday 18 February 2020 2:05 pm

UK firm tells staff to go meat-free to expense meals

Employees of one property firm have decided that meat is firmly off the menu when it comes to expenses.

For the 30 or so staff at Igloo Regeneration, they must now go vegetarian in order to expense not just lunches and dinners, but corporate entertaining and workshop catering too.

Read more: DEBATE: Should Britain introduce taxes on meat and dairy to meet our climate goals?

Workers voted for the change after the company’s values team lead, Kate Marfleet, suggested the idea last year as a way to reduce Igloo’s carbon footprint.

“We realised we needed the whole company to come on board, it couldn’t just be imposed,” Marfleet told the BBC.

“We had some justifications as to why it was a good idea, mostly environmental. There were some reservations from staff, but most of those were based on them being unsure of the environmental impact.”

Marfleet said staff are left to make their own choices about what they eat, for instance if somebody has a gluten allergy and there is no appropriate vegetarian meal they can buy.

“And if you are somewhere where there is no vegetarian option, then obviously you shouldn’t starve,” she said. “Even if you decided you really wanted a bacon sandwich, then that’s fine, but the company won’t pay for it.”

Read more: The rise of the vegans: Where to get your plant-based meat

Igloo made the decision because so many of its staff work remotely, meaning they often grab a lunch they can expense.

And while company director John Long said Igloo is not checking up on staff’s eating habits, “we spend a lot of time thinking about the impact of our property development on the planet”.

He added: “We invest a lot of time thinking about sustainability and we’ve been thinking about carbon for 20 years. About six months ago, we thought we ought to look at ourselves rather than just our projects.”

Read more: Vegan products total a quarter of food launches in 2019

Igloo’s decision to go meat-free comes after property giant Wework brought in a similar rule for meals containing poultry, pork or meat in 2018.

Wework said the change in policy would save 16.6m gallons of water, 445.1m pounds of Co2 emissions and 15.5m animals over five years.